Daily Lent Devotional #22 (3/30/2011)

2 Corinthians 5: 1-5   (Contemporary English Version)

1 “Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are in heaven and will last forever. 2While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home. 3We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked.

4These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan. But we don’t do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die. 5God is the one who makes all of this possible. He has given us his Spirit to make us certain that he will do it.”

I have shared often from author and professor Henri Nouwen over the past few devotionals, and today will be no exception.  🙂

Nouwen was hit by the outside rear view mirror of a passing van, while out walking on a dark winter morning. He had to be operated on to stop the internal bleeding and to take out his spleen. He survived the surgery and multiple life-threatening infections afterward. Many of the feelings and thoughts that Nouwen had about this near-death experience were included in his book  “Beyond the Mirror,” which was  published in 1990.  They take us inside the mind of a great man who struggled with “going home” to be with God and embracing life on Earth (with all of its trials, pain, and difficulties).  I hope these thoughts are a blessing and encouragement to you on your journey with God:

One emotion was very strong—that of homecoming. Jesus opened His home to me and seemed to say, “Here is where you belong.” The words He spoke to His disciples became very real. The risen Jesus, who now dwells with His Father, was welcoming me home after a long journey.

This experience was the realization of my oldest and deepest desires. Since the first moment of consciousness, I have had the desire to be with Jesus. Now I felt His presence in a most tangible way, as if my whole life had come together and I was being enfolded in love. The homecoming had a real quality of return, a return to the womb of God. The God who had fashioned me in secret and moulded me in the depths of the earth, the God who had knitted me together in my mother’s womb, was calling me back after a long journey and wanted to receive me as someone who had become child enough to be loved as a child.

All that I have learned through life and all that I experienced during my encounters with death has taught me that death is like a second birth, leading me to a new way of living. I had nothing to say about my first birth. But I have a lot to say about my second birth and I can get ready for it.

I say all of this so directly and so freely because I believe. I believe that my life, whether it is short or long, is a gift from God. I believe that God, who has given me my life, loves me with an everlasting love. I believe that this everlasting love is stronger than death, and I believe that everything that happens during my life offers me an opportunity to let my death become a rebirth.

My experience of God’s love during my hours near death has given me a renewed knowledge of not belonging to the world—to the dark powers of our society. This knowledge has entered more deeply into my heart and has led me to a fuller acceptance of my identity. I am a child of God, a brother of Jesus. I am held safe in the intimacy of the divine love.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on March 30, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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